MACC raids banks in international scam investigations

THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has conducted raids on banks and company registrar premises as part of an investigation into an international scam syndicate.The MACC’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) task force led the operation as a follow-up to Ops Tropicana.

Sources told The Star that the syndicate set up companies and bank accounts in Malaysia with the help of certain financial institutions that acted as middlemen.

The operation enabled the syndicate to establish fake investment portfolios and con victims in Australia and the United Kingdom out of almost RM200 mil (US$47 mil) since 2019.It is believed the group was part of an international scam ring that duped victims out of about RM1 bil in total. The syndicate members hail from Australia, Britain, South Africa and the Philippines.Last year, scammers managed to swindle almost half a billion ringgit from Malaysians, with RM415 mil lost in the first seven months of 2022 in addition to RM52.4 mil lost from October 2022 to January this year.The rising trend of online fraud is alarming and requires immediate attention.The National Scam Response Center and other relevant authorities must work together to combat these criminal activities, educate the public on how to avoid becoming victims, and provide assistance to those who have fallen prey to these malicious schemes.On the international scam investigations, MACC has worked with other agencies including the Immigration Department, the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission, the Companies Commission of Malaysia, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and the Inland Revenue Board. — March 4, 2023

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